We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Once again…

Read the story forwards, not backwards

The lie I hate most is the lie I once fell for.

When George Zimmerman was charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, there was much I did not know till later. But from the day the story broke, I could see cause to keep an open mind in the face of the narrative. There was more to the Ferguson story than I knew till much later. But I saw from the start that there was more to it than the media wanted me to know.

Not so with the Floyd story. If I’d seen Floyd being restrained by nurses in an emergency room, the idea that they could be trying to save him, not kill him, might have occurred to me. But everyone knows police and suspects are adversaries. The police arrived on the scene in the first place to arrest him, not hospitalise him. Who wants to watch a distressing video of a man dying? Surely the picture of Floyd on the ground under Chauvin’s knee was enough. So my mind confabulated a simple connection between the two.

So I accepted an incident-report from BLM!

I could see it was wildly oversold. I could see that BLM demanded we think it represented all police, all white people and above all Trump, although Mineapolis has not seen a Republican official for decades. I could see the same BLM demanded we think their ‘mostly peaceful’ gunning down of an 8-year-old black girl represented nothing at all. But I assumed the Floyd incident was what they said it was in itself, despite knowing who and what the overwhelmingly white marxists who run BLM were, and where they come from.

That’s embarrassing!

It was days later (prompted by a twin-cities-based web friend) that I woke up enough to watch the video – and to think about it. You don’t asphyxiate a man by pressing on the back of his neck – and you usually don’t murder a man under the eyes of hostile videoing witnesses when you could just put him in your car and drive off. Two-thirds of the way in, the video itself drops a unintentional hint that it may not be the whole story. A guy comes to the man videoing and says, “Let me help. I saw the whole thing”, whereupon the man swiftly gets very aggressive in his determination to make the unwelcome informant go away again. Very soon he is shouting “I know where you live. I know where your parents live.” to make the guy leave – a strange thing for someone concerned about Floyd to do.

So I began to try and learn more.

Many detective stories have plots that would be very straightforward – if they were told in order from start to end. Instead, the hero is introduced to some late side-effect of the crime, or to a crime with an obvious suspect, then gets (with the reader) a series of baffling shocks as they trying to unwind the hidden earlier history. Only at the end does the ‘great detective’ tell the story in order, from start to end, and then everything that puzzled us makes sense.

Let’s tell the George Floyd story in order, start to finish (as best we can for now). The police are summoned by a shopkeeper to an unusual suspect, who is still parked nearby, acting silly, when the usual passer of forged $20-bills would have driven off. As they go through the routine of questioning him, Floyd’s strange behaviour starts to get to them. They ask Mr Floyd “Are you on something right now? (See bodycam transcripts for Officers Kueng and Lane.) At first Floyd denies this, saying “No, nothing” but then Officer Koenig tells Floyd he is “acting real erratic” and asks Floyd why he is foaming at the mouth. “I was hooping earlier”, George explains.

(Hooping: street slang for absorbing drugs via the anus, believed by some to enhance their potency. The autopsy confirms George Floyd was telling the truth: the amount of fentanyl in his system was far above lethal dosage.)

For a while, the police try to stick to their script – to put him in their car and take him to the station – but it gradually (or fairly quickly, one could argue – the whole incident takes but a short time) becomes clear that things are serious. Foaming-at-the-mouth George starts to complain he can’t breathe – both directly and also indirectly (Floyd’s indicative fear of being in the closed police car, his begging them to “crack [open] a window”, appears even earlier than his first “I can’t breathe”). Floyd himself repeatedly asks to get on the ground rather than into the car – and repeatedly says he can’t breathe before he is on the ground. Chauvin puts him on the ground. By now, the police have abandoned the idea of arresting him and instead summoned an ambulance, at first because Floyd cut his mouth on the car door, but soon afterwards Chauvin tells Lane (who is handling comms) to call again and ensure the ambulance is high priority – which would be an odd thing for a would-be murderer to do.

Meanwhile, what do the police do with Floyd till the ambulance arrives (soon, they hope)? They do what they have been trained to do (by order of the left-leaning Democrats who rule Minneapolis). They restrain the suspect (the theory is his own struggles may otherwise exhaust him, especially if drug-induced Extreme Delirium occurs). They use the knee-to-rear-of-neck hold they’ve been taught to use (“the conscious neck hold”, their political masters’ manual calls it, because that hold should not make the subject lose consciousness, let alone face the dangers of a frontal choke-hold). “I can’t breathe”, yells Floyd yet again now he is on the ground. “Then stop talking and yelling.”, replies Chauvin, “It takes a lot of oxygen to talk.” But though the hold is designed not to take consciousness, let alone life, Floyd nevertheless passes out after four minutes on the ground (or at least, both Lane and the ex-wife who has been with him from the start, say at almost the same time, “I think he’s passed out”).

We know from the autopsy that Floyd’s lungs (two-three times normal weight when examined, because of all the liquid in them) must by now be dangerously full of fluid – probably already lethally so. Knowing what we know now, Floyd was most unlikely to resume struggling. Floyd is having an episode all right, but not of Extreme Delirium. The active restraint no longer serves its intended purpose.

But the police do not know this; they are still wondering whether Floyd is on PCP. Fentanyl has not occurred to them – and why would it? And if it had, would Floyd’s foaming lungs have had a better chance of draining if he were face up instead of face down? He was given CPR by Officer Lane and the ambulance crew when the ambulance arrived. The four officers would have done their own PR a favour if they had broken their training and started it four minutes earlier. But with flooded lungs between mouth and heart, would it have favoured Floyd’s survival at all?

Told in order from first to last, the story of how George Floyd came to die makes more sense than the start-at-the-end BLM narrative ever did. I guess if we could all have seen that right away then detective story writers would be out of business, which is a fate I would not want for them (for BLM, by contrast, … ).

Last Friday, a judge dismissed Derek Chauvin’s third degree murder charge over George Floyd. (Here is a critcal assessment of the charges written when they were made). Earlier this month, the same judge gave Chauvin monitored $1 million bail release from his high security ‘protective’ custody. The second-degree charges remain against him and his colleagues. Those charges must meet a higher standard of proof to convict. A matter so ‘tried’ in the ‘court of public opinion’ may benefit from the clarity of a real trial. The judge may be serving the truth as best he can.

One final question: why do BLM focus on cases like Zimmerman, Ferguson or Floyd instead of genuine criminal police shootings of blacks? In the brutally racist U.S. that BLM claim to believe in, there should be loads of strong legal cases to choose from – and in the real U.S they certainly happen. I think the marxist revolutionaries of BLM see no profit in highlighting a valid case – it may well end in evil oppressive America convicting the cop. Far better a case where there is a real chance of acquittal. If there is acquittal, they can have yet more riots. If there should be acquittal in honest law, but judge and jury are too fearful or propagandised, they’ve made a real advance towards their goal.

Because why not…

If this is how the Democrats campaign, maybe the Republicans will win after all

With great glee, the Huffington Post reports,

Multiple Right-Wing Figures Pranked Into Thanking The Devil For Supporting Trump

Several prominent pro-Trump voices have been pranked into thanking “Iblis” — a figure in the Quran typically synonymous with Satan — for supporting the president.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Fox News host Tomi Lahren, former Trump aide and right-wing radio host Sebastian Gorka and controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio were among those who fell for the prank, engineered by Ali-Asghar Abedi, a comedy writer and contributor for various media outlets, including PBS, The New York Times and The Independent.

The videos — which were combined into a supercut that features the pundits and politicians thanking “Iblis” for his passionate support of the president and reminding him to make American great again — were filmed via Cameo, an app where celebrities can be paid to record personalized messages for a fee.

The great joke is that these minor celebrities recorded a supportive message for someone with a name they were told was of Arab origin. I fail to see why that should reflect badly on either their honour or their intelligence. Evidently, despite being Trump supporters, they were not consumed by hatred for Arabs. The other charge against them is that they failed to spot that “Iblis” means “Satan”. Mr Abedi thinks that reveals dire ignorance. He writes,

“They’re grifters who are stunningly ignorant and have no curiosity,” Abed said. “I left clues for them. I told them that Iblis was Arab American. If they had a sense of the world beyond MAGA, they’d research what Iblis means in an Arab context. I guess they’re true adherents to capitalism, placing money ahead of their own dignity.”

Abedi did point out that he was “a bit crafty” in the spelling of “Iblis.”

“I spelled it ‘Ebliz’ and laid out the pronunciation as ‘ibb-lease.’ But [I] figured mentioning that Iblis is Arab should have been a cue to vet the request with someone who knows Arabic.”

So upon hearing a name from another culture the rule is now that one should hasten to check that it does not mean “devil”? And it is not enough to check the name for non-fiendishness in the spelling as given; variant spellings must be checked as well. How quickly customs change. Only a few years ago this Guardian writer was denouncing harassed servers in Starbucks for querying the spelling of her unusual name or writing it down wrong on coffee cups.

The video featured by the Huffington Post is very popular. As I write this it has had just short of six hundred thousand views. As someone who would like Trump to win (or more to the point someone who would like the censors of Twitter, Facebook and the media to lose), but is pessimistic, I feel hope stir.

Three days before an election and this is how Democrats campaign? Laughing to each other (but in a public forum) about how trustingly friendly to people of other cultures those Republicans were? Whose vote do you think will be changed to Democrat by the revelation that there are Republicans out there who do not know the equivalent of “Beelzebub” in every language on Earth? Meanwhile Republicans are talking to people who don’t usually vote Republican.

Samizdata quote of the day

“The Soviet Union (also Mao’s China, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela) have proved that central planning is impossible. Even something as simple as corn. To grow corn, you just plant seeds in fertile soil, and wait. Yet every country that attempted to centrally plan it, has starved.”

Keith Weiner, who runs a precious metals investments business, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s become a friend, and a fount of good sense on issues such as money and central banking. Check out his blog.

Samizdata quote of the day

When Samuel Paty was decapitated in the street in broad daylight for trying to teach his students a civics lesson, the New York Times ran with the woefully misleading headline “French Police Shoot and Kill Man After a Fatal Knife Attack on the Street”. The attack — in which the assassin who had just cut someone’s head off was shot by gendarmes — was awkwardly framed through the lens of liberal America’s anxieties over police violence, and it didn’t get much better from there.

Liam Duffy

A monument of collective hysteria and folly

When I ventured to criticise them in a BBC interview for acting beyond their powers I received a letter from the Derbyshire police commissioner objecting to my remarks on the ground that in a crisis such things were necessary. The implication was that in a crisis the police were entitled to do whatever they thought fit, without being unduly concerned about their legal powers. That is my definition of a police state.

Lord Sumption

The Scottish Justice Secretary says that hate speech in people’s own homes ‘must be prosecuted’

Sometimes I try to think of a funny or attention-grabbing way to introduce a news report that I will link to in a Samizdata post. The following report from the Times grabbed my attention without artificial aids, as it should grab yours. It is not funny.

Hate crime bill: Hate talk in homes ‘must be prosecuted’

Conversations over the dinner table that incite hatred must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law, the justice secretary has said.

Journalists and theatre directors should also face the courts if their work is deemed to deliberately stoke up prejudice, Humza Yousaf said.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill has been condemned by critics including the Scottish Catholic Church, police representatives, academics and artists. It will introduce an offence of stirring-up of hatred against people with protected characteristics, including disability, sexual orientation and age.

The bill is loosely based on the Public Order Act 1986, which outlaws threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour but includes a “dwelling defence” that states the threatening language cannot be prosecuted if it is spoken in a private home.

Mr Yousaf said that there should be no “dwelling defence” in his bill. He told the Scottish parliament’s justice committee that children, family and house guests must be protected from hate speech. He told MSPs: “Are we comfortable giving a defence to somebody whose behaviour is threatening or abusive which is intentionally stirring up hatred against, for example, Muslims? Are we saying that that is justified because that is in the home? . . . If your intention was to stir up hatred against Jews . . . then I think that deserves criminal sanction.”

Mr Yousaf said theatre directors and journalists should not be exempt from the bill, to prevent activists stoking tensions under the cloak of dramatic licence or freedom of expression. He said: “We wouldn’t want to give the likes of Tommy Robinson a defence by saying that he’s ‘a blogger who writes for The Patriot Times so my reasonable defence is that I am a journalist’.”

New York Times quote of yesteryear, Victorygirls quote of today

Donald J. Trump refurbished the Central Park skating rink two and a half months ahead of his own speedy six-month schedule and $750,000 below his own projected $3 million budget, having taken over the project after the city spent six years and $12 million unsuccessfully trying to get the job done. …

Mr. Trump did the project free of charge, saying it irritated him just watching the fiasco, although he has reaped torrential publicity and much good will.

I owe my knowledge of the 1986 NYT article to victorygirls, who comment:

Sounds a lot like his presidency. A thankless, and for him salary-free job. He came in as his typical larger than life persona, didn’t ask for thanks, didn’t ask for followers to believe he was a messiah. He recognized a problem, and worked to fix it, but didn’t seem to worry that people who disliked him would also skate on the rink.

I read the old article myself and extracted one more quote.

“He built the most fabulous rink I have ever seen”, said Vera Banchet, watching her daughter skate. “I saw Trump on TV again last night. If I may say so, he is not one to hide his light under a bushel.”

That too is a lot like his presidency.

We can thank the New York Times and friends for making a world in which one is either loud enough to be heard over them or else one is silenced – a world in which not letting his light be hidden under a PC bushel has become simply another of the Donald’s virtues! 🙂

Art for art sake

I recently saw the question asked (and answered very haltingly): can you separate the art from the artist?

Having watched, read, listened to works by variously kinds of socialists, racists, religious wackos, and people with all manner of other assorted loathsome world views… yes, one can most certainly separate the author from the work, the artist from the art, as the works can stand on their own. One can appreciate what Leni Riefenstahl or Sergei Eisenstein or Zhang Guanzhe did without embracing the ideologies they propagandised or caring much about the artist. Daesh nasheeds are a really interesting form of music. The Joker dancing on those stairs was dancing to music written by Gary Glitter. So what? The music is fabulous.

HP Lovecraft, know these days as much for his of-his-times racism, was hugely influential culturally with many who followed for reasons unrelated to that. As a teenager, I was introduced to Lovecraft’s works by a Jamaican fan, and he had a really interesting theory as to why HPL wrote what and how he did (tl’dr: he was terrified of The Other, which informs his entire opus).

If you can’t transcend the fact people who see the world differently (and often horribly) can nevertheless make astonishingly good things… well, your loss.

Samizata quote of the day

“If anti-state fanatics have been calling the shots for decades, why is the federal government bigger today than it was 40 years ago?”

Oliver Wiseman, writing a review of a book that alleges that most of our problems today were caused by free market think tanks and intellectuals. Wiseman is, rightly, dismissive of the book’s central claim.

Samizdata quote of the day

The idea that someone’s skin colour should determine their politics stems from a reactionary, patronising attitude towards non-white people. It ends up producing the grim spectacle of white people telling black people what they are allowed to think. Indentitarian activists are all for empowering black people – right up until they disagree with them.

Spiked